How girls are trafficked to Middle East through Kenya

Illegal. Kenyan border point at Malaba where some of the Ugandan girls trafficked to the Middle East pass through. FILE PHOTO

What you need to know:

Routes. Traffickers use boda boda riders and travel agents to help the girls cross into Kenya through Busia and Malaba border points while some take advantage of the many unguarded crossings.

Kampala. Traffickers who smuggle Ugandan girls through Kenya to different destinations in the Middle East and South Africa have built a syndicate involving police officers, other security officers and immigration staff from Uganda and Kenya, an investigation by Sunday Monitor has revealed.
The syndicate secretly lures unemployed Ugandan girls with promises of lucrative pay especially in the Middle East, process passports for them, transport them to Uganda’s eastern borders, and then the games begin.
We have established that the traffickers use boda boda riders and travel agents to help the girls cross into Kenya through the official border points at Busia and Malaba, while some take advantage of the many unguarded crossings known as panyas to escape. It is lucrative business for those involved, our investigation shows.
Our investigations also show that the syndicate is accomplished by select officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) who ensure the girls fly out of Kenya to their respective destinations.
This investigation is based on information provided by girls who were intercepted in Kenya as they attempted to fly out to different destinations, two Ugandan resident district commissioners, parents of the girls, a labour “agent”, a Kenyan immigration official and an assortment of official documents and correspondences.
Some of the girls end up in South Africa, Middle East countries such as Oman, which are the most popular destinations in this case. Authorities believe some of the girls and young women are being sold into sex slavery.
To demonstrate the lucrative nature of the business, a boda boda ride earns between Shs100,000 to Shs200,000 for safely delivering a girl to the Kenyan side of the Ugandan border. This journey should ordinarily cost no more than Shs5,000.

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